Tag Archives: Canada

First blast resistant, biofortified wheat variety released in Bangladesh-A great breakthrough of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute

First blast resistant, biofortified wheat variety released in Bangladesh

by Hans Braun, Pawan Singh, Ravi Singh, Shahidul Haque Khan, Velu Govindan / October 18, 2017

Members of National Technical Committee of NSB evaluating BAW 1260 in the field. Photo: CIMMYT
Members of National Technical Committee of NSB evaluating BAW 1260, the breeding line used to develop BARI Gom 33. Photo: CIMMYT

DHAKA, Bangladesh (CIMMYT) — As wheat farmers in Bangladesh struggle to recover from a 2016 outbreak of a mysterious disease called “wheat blast,” the country’s National Seed Board (NSB) released a new, high-yielding, blast-resistant wheat variety, according to a communication from the Wheat Research Centre (WRC) in Bangladesh.

Called “BARI Gom 33,” the variety was developed by WRC using a breeding line from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), a Mexico-based organization that has collaborated with Bangladeshi research organizations for decades, according to Naresh C. Deb Barma, Director of WRC, who said the variety had passed extensive field and laboratory testing. “Gom” means “wheat grain” in Bangla, the Bengali language used in Bangladesh.

“This represents an incredibly rapid response to blast, which struck in a surprise outbreak on 15,000 hectares of wheat in southwestern Bangladesh just last year, devastating the crop and greatly affecting farmers’ food security and livelihoods, not to mention their confidence in sowing wheat,” Barma said.

Caused by the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae pathotype triticum, wheat blast was first identified in Brazil in 1985 and has constrained wheat farming in South America for decades. Little is known about the genetics or interactions of the fungus with wheat or other hosts. Few resistant varieties have been released in Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, the countries most affected by wheat blast.

The Bangladesh outbreak was its first appearance in South Asia, a region where rice-wheat cropping rotations cover 13 million hectares and over a billion inhabitants eat wheat as main staple.

Many blast fungal strains are impervious to fungicides, according to Pawan Singh, a CIMMYT wheat pathologist. “The Bangladesh variant is still sensitive to fungicides, but this may not last forever, so we’re rushing to develop and spread new, blast-resistant wheat varieties for South Asia,” Singh explained.

The urgent global response to blast received a big boost in June from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), which funded an initial four-year research project to breed blast resistant wheat varieties and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which also provided grant to kick-start the work in South Asia. Led by CIMMYT, the initiative involves researchers from nearly a dozen institutions worldwide.

Chemical controls are costly and potentially harmful to human and environmental health, so protecting crops like wheat with inherent resistance is the smart alternative, but resistance must be genetically complex, combining several genes, to withstand new mutations of the pathogen over time.

Key partners in the new project are the agricultural research organizations of Bangladesh, including the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), and the Instituto Nacional de Innovación Agropecuaria y Forestal in Bolivia, which will assist with large-scale field experiments to select wheat lines under artificial and natural infections of wheat blast.

Other partners include national and provincial research organizations in India, Nepal and Pakistan, as well as Kansas State University (KSU) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS). The U.S. Agency for International Agricultural Development (USAID) has also supported efforts to kick-start blast control measures, partnerships and upscaling the breeding, testing and seed multiplication of new, high-yielding, disease resistant varieties through its Feed the Future project.

BARI Gom 33 was tested for resistance to wheat blast in field trials in Bolivia and Bangladesh and in greenhouse tests by the USDA-ARS laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland. International partnerships are critical for a fast response to wheat blast, according to Hans-Joachim Braun, director of CIMMYT’s Global Wheat Program.

“Worldwide, we’re in the middle of efforts that include blast surveillance and forecasting, studies on the pathogen’s genetics and biology, integrated disease management and seed systems, as well as raising awareness about the disease and training for researchers, extension workers, and farmers,” said Braun.

With over 160 million people, Bangladesh is among the world’s most densely populated countries. Wheat is Bangladesh’s second most important staple food, after rice. The country grows more than 1.3 million tons each year but consumes 4.5 million tons, meaning that imports whose costs exceed $0.7 billion each year comprise more than two-thirds of domestic wheat grain use.

WRC will produce tons of breeder’s seed of BARI Gom 33 each year. This will be used by the Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) and diverse non-governmental organizations and private companies to produce certified seed for farmers.

“This year WRC will provide seed to BADC for multiplication and the Department of Agricultural Extension will establish on-farm demonstrations of the new variety in blast prone districts during 2017-18,” said Barma.

As an added benefit for the nutrition of wheat consuming households, BARI Gom 33 grain features 30 percent higher levels of zinc than conventional wheat. Zinc is a critical micronutrient missing in the diets of many of the poor throughout South Asia and whose lack particularly harms the health of pregnant women and children under 5 years old.

With funding from HarvestPlus and the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition, CIMMYT is leading global efforts to breed biofortified wheat with better agronomic and nutritional quality traits. The wheat line used in BARI Gom 33 was developed at CIMMYT, Mexico, through traditional cross-breeding and shared with Bangladesh and other cooperators in South Asia through the Center’s International Wheat Improvement Network, which celebrates 50 years in 2018.

Stable window 1 and 2 (W1W2) funding from CGIAR enabled CIMMYT and partners to react quickly and screen breeding lines in Bolivia, as well as working with KSU to identify sources of wheat blast resistance. The following W1 funders have made wheat blast resistance breeding possible: Australia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, France, India, Japan, Korea, New Zeland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the World Bank. The following funders also contributed vital W2 funding: Australia, China, the United Kingdom (DFID) and USAID.

(This report has been taken from the website of CIMMYT,http://www.cimmyt.org for greater dissemination to inform and inspire all concerned.I specially congratulate the team of scientists for this great breakthrough.I also thank the funding agencies for their great contributions towards food and nutrition security.I heartily acknowledge the authors of the article,”First blast resistant, biofortified wheat variety released in Bangladesh” who depicted the details of the breakthrough and published at http://www.cimmyt.org/first-blast-resistant-biofortified-wheat-variety-released-in-bangladesh)

Library Exhibit Honours Canadian Entomology(Taken from ‘at Guelph’ for further Dissemination)

At Guelph

Library Exhibit Honours Canadian Entomology

Rare books, insect drawings date to 1634

BY TERESA PITMAN
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013

The University of Guelph Library archives hold several water-colour drawings by Rev. Thomas Fyles, a member of the Montreal branch of the Entomological Society of Ontario. He painted this larvae and moth in 1901. “It represents the typical depiction of the insect world at the time,” says Prof. Mark Sears. “How  far have we come in 100 years.”

The University of Guelph Library archives hold several water-colour drawings by Rev. Thomas Fyles, a member of the Montreal branch of the Entomological Society of Ontario. He painted this larva and moth in 1901. “It represents the typical depiction of the insect world at the time,” says Prof. Mark Sears. “How far have we come in 100 years.”

Insects. Bugs. Creepy-crawlies. Some people shudder when they see them, but others find these little creatures fascinating and recognize that understanding them is important to many industries in agriculture, food and environmental services.

If you are someone who shudders, don’t be put off by the fact that a new exhibit in the McLaughlin Library fills several display cases with facts, figures and depictions of bugs, butterflies and their close relatives.

“Insects! Insects! Figments of Canadian Entomology” features fascinating historical material drawn from the library’s archives and assembled by statistics professor Gary Umphrey and retired environmental sciences professor Mark Sears.

Professionally, Umphrey is a numbers guy, but he has a passionate interest in the study of insects and the history of entomology. He says the entomological material in the archives dates back more than 150 years, to the date in 1863 when the first Entomological Society of Canada was founded. Yes, that’s four years before Confederation.

The society was renamed the Entomological Society of Ontario (ESO) in 1871 following a pledge of support from the Ontario government. But even after the name change, Umphrey says it still operated in many ways as a national organization with branches in other provinces. The first headquarters were in Toronto, but the organization soon moved to London and eventually Guelph in 1906, where it became affiliated with the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC). Today, the group’s library and archives are housed in the University of Guelph Library.

In 1950 the Entomological Society of Canada was formed, and ESO became a provincial organization. The two societies will celebrate their 150-year shared history of insect science at a four-day gala conference in Guelph Oct. 20 to 23. The library exhibit honours this occasion, providing a glimpse into the history of the study of insects in Canada for both conference-goers and the Guelph community.

The task of arranging 150 years of Canadian entomological history into displays is, not surprisingly, a bit daunting, says Umphrey. He appreciates the help of library archives staff Michelle Goodridge, Melissa McAfee and Kathryn Harvey, who have arranged and organized the displays. “Mark and I would like to have everything possible crammed into the displays, but the archivists help us sort things out and arrange them,” says Umphrey. “We know we can’t really get everything in, but we’d like to.”

The collection includes what Umphrey describes as “some very old, very cool volumes” such as books by Carl Linnaeus, who is known for developing the system used for naming plants and animals. A number of photos are in the collection, including one taken at the ESO’s 50thanniversary in 1913. The event was held at OAC, and one of the people in the photo is George Creelman, who was president of OAC at the time.

A former ESO president, Sears says that in the early 1900s the society gathered books and materials and traded journals and publications with other societies. “This was really cutting-edge at the time – the scientific descriptions and careful illustrations of the insects.”

Part of the library exhibit shows how these illustrations have evolved over time. It begins with drawings of insects, some hand-coloured, and continues the evolution through etchings and wood-cuts, pen-and-ink drawings, early photography and more advanced photographic techniques. A recent development, says Sears, is a photo taken with an electron microscope: “You get an image magnified thousands of times and can see the tiniest feature of the insect in great detail.”

Another display of how insects help people is also a reminder of U of G’s connection with the world of insects. Honeybees are naturally highlighted in this particular section, and Sears points out that bees have been part of the campus since the 1890s. At one time, in fact, OAC had an apiculture building located where the University Centre now stands.

Sears adds that new technology provides novel ways to bring alive the history of entomology in Canada; this year, the group is preparing a digital scrapbook. “We want to leave something for the future,” he says. It’s evidence that the importance of understanding insects and their role in agriculture and the environment continues.

(This interesting article has been taken from the following  link  of ‘at Guelph’ which is sent to me for further dissemination:

http://atguelph.uoguelph.ca/2013/10/library-exhibit-honours-canadian-entomology/)

2013 International Year of Quinoa (IYQ2013) :A Future sown a thousands of years ago(Dissemiation of UNFAO Program)

Launch of the International Year of Quinoa

Quinoa can play an important role in eradicating hunger, malnutrition and poverty, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said at the official launch of the International Year of Quinoa at UN Headquarters. [more]

A future sown thousands of years ago

The value of quinoa lies not only in the grains of its colorful particles, but also in the knowledge accumulated by the Andean peoples, which has made it possible to preserve its many varieties, improve their performance and develop a gastronomy around quinoa.

However, the grain was carefully guarded by these peoples and today it is an invaluable legacy for humanity, due to its unique characteristics: quinoa is the only food that has all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins while being gluten free.

It can grow under the harshest conditions, withstanding temperatures from -8 ° to 38 ° C, anywhere from sea level up to 4000 meters, and is tolerant of drought and poor soils.

From staple to gourmet kitchen

Like the potato, quinoa was one of the main foods of the Andean peoples before the Incas. Traditionally, quinoa grain are roasted and then made to flour, with which different types of breads are baked.

It can also be cooked, added to soups, used as a cereal, made into pasta and even fermented to beer or chicha, the traditional drink of the Andes. When cooked it takes on a nut-like flavor.

Today quinoa also has a key role in the gourmet kitchen, but its use has also been extended to the pharmaceutical and industrial areas.

From America to the world

Almost all the current quinoa production is in the hands of small farmers and associations.

Quinoa can be found natively in all countries of the Andean region, from Colombia to the north of Argentina and the south of Chile. The main producing countries are Bolivia, Peru and the United States. The cultivation of quinoa has transcended continental boundaries: it is being cultivated in France, England, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Italy. In the United States it is being grown in Colorado and Nevada, and in Canada in the fields of Ontario. In Kenya it has shown high yields and in the Himalayas and the plains of northern India, the crop can also develop successfully.

A contribution to global food security

Faced with the challenge of increasing the production of quality food to feed the world’s population in the context of climate change, quinoa offers an alternative for those countries suffering from food insecurity.

The United Nations General Assembly has therefore declared 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa”, in recognition of ancestral practices of the Andean people, who have managed to preserve quinoa in its natural state as food for present and future generations, through ancestral practices of living in harmony with nature.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and specifically its Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, will serve as the Secretariat of the International Year of Quinoa, assisting the International Committee to coordinate the celebrations. Bolivia has the presidency of the Committee, while Ecuador, Peru and Chile share the vice presidency, with the rapporteurship in the hands of Argentina and France.

What is quinoa?

WHAT IS QUINOA?

Everything about quinoa, how it is grown, what it is used for and what are its varieties

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NEWS

Get the latest news about the IYQ and access to news published in major media sources in the region.

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Publications

PUBLICATIONS

If you want to know more about quinoa, enter this section where you can find related publications with this crop and the IYQ.

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MULTIMEDIA

Get the 2013 International Year of Quinoa campaign materials and help spread the word!

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2013 International Year of Quinoa Secretariat

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean
Av. Dag Hammarskjöld 3241, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile
[email protected]

(This article has been taken from the link :http://www.fao.org/quinoa-2013/en/ of  FAO website for further dissemination)

Training on Heavy Metal and Pesticide Residue Detection in Foods by the FAO Food Safety Project in Bangladesh :Dr.Syed Md.Zainul Abedin

The FAO Food Safety Project of Bangladesh has  completed refurbishment of 7000 sq. ft. of laboratory space on the premises of the Institute of Public Health (IPH), Mohakhali situated in Dhaka,the capital of Bangladesh.The facilities has been earmarked  as the National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL). To develop the necessary technical capacity for this laboratory, analysts assigned by the IPH have been trained both in Bangladesh and abroad through an intensive capacity building programme. As part of this skill and capability enhancement activity, two expert trainers spent 5 concentrated weeks in training the analysts on the detection of heavy metals and pesticide residues in food.The event was held from May 26 to June 30, 2012.
Dr. Amina Sekaly from Toronto, Canada, international expert in testing for heavy metals in food and by Dr. Anoop Krishnan from the Export Inspection Agency Laboratory, Mumbai, India in the detection of pesticide residues in food imparted the training.  The analysts were taught the fundamental principles of spectroscopy and given detailed presentations on sophisticated laboratory equipment used in food analysis such as  Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS),  Gas Chromatograph (GC),  GC coupled with Mass Spectrophotometer (GC-MS) and the High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). They were also provided training on the use and operation of the High Performance Thin Layer Chromatograph (HPTLC) by engineers from the company (CAMAG). The analysts also performed calibration tests for basic laboratory instruments and were trained in the measurement of uncertainty.

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The two international experts also trained on laboratory safety and good laboratory practices to encourage and emphasize the development of a strong and safe analytical mindset among the analysts who participated in the training. This contribution was particularly significant as this group is expected to be the core start up team of the NFSL. The training activities were overseen by Dr. Sridhar Dharmapuri, International Food Analysis Expert and Dr. Ashis Ratan Sen, National Food Analysis Advisor, FAO Food safety Project. Dr. Md. Abdur Razzak Miah, Deputy Director of the IPH attended many of the training sessions on behalf of the IPH management.
The feedbacks from the participants were extremely positive. They expressed their appreciation for the two experts for assisting them  in enhancing analytical skills and providing insights into the operation of an efficient food safety laboratory. Importantly, the analysts imbibed a lot of confidence from the training program. They anticipated that this will translate into the generation of reliable food safety data as the National Food Safety Laboratory in Dhaka becomes operational.
The FAO Food Safety Project warmly thanked Dr. Sekaly and Dr. Krishnan for conducting a wide-ranging and valuable training programme which may be considered as an important milestone towards the food safety undertaking of Bangladesh.

The news item has been prepared on the basis of report published at the link:http://www.bdfoodsafety.org/inner.php?SubMenuId=6&DetailsId=69 of the Project entitled, ‘Improving Food Safety in Bangladesh’.

The  project is jointly supported by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO-UN) and Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

You may visit the website of the project: http://bdfoodsafety.org/ to learn its activities.

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